I was first aware of João de Carvalho Pina‘s work a couple of years ago when Jim pointed to Pina’s photographic homage to the political prisoners of Portugal (1926-1974). Two of Pina’s grandparents were imprisoned by the Portuguese regime.
Just as that terror ended in Europe, another began across six countries in South America. Pina’s project Operation Condor has just featured on the New York Times’ Lens blog, for which Daniel J. Wakin explains:
“Operation Condor was a collusion among right-wing dictators in Latin America during the 1970s to eliminate their leftist opponents. The countries involved were Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia.”
More from the NY Times on the sites of detention:
Mr. Pina said he was struck by how ordinary the locations were — garages, a sports stadium, offices. “Most of them are places that can be in the corner of our houses,” he said. “They’re very normal places”
Very important work, not least the portraits of survivors. Pina’s goal is to create a visual memory of the era working against a relative dearth of historical documentation, “to show people that this actually happened. There are hundreds of thousands of people affected by it.”
The first four chapters of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine deal with the military juntas and international interference in South America from the mid 50s until the 80s. Highly recommended.
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I have been working on a series of posts about the Desaparecidos in Argentina specifically, one group of nationals affected by the continental ideological wars of South America in the 70s and 80s. Expect follow up posts on this subject.
Pina works on incredible breadth of issues, all related by their focus on the harshest of social violence. Most recently, his work on the gangs of Rio de Janeiro has garnered attention, here and here.
Below is an image from his Portuguese political prisoners project (source).